Keep Your House Tidy With These 7 House Cleaning Secrets

Lauren Murphy
Written by Lauren Murphy
Reviewed by Asya Biddle
Updated March 7, 2022
Housewife cleaning floor in living room
Photo: BONNINSTUDIO/Stocksy / Adobe Stock


  • Cleaning from top to bottom and left to right will make cleaning the house manageable.

  • Pare down your cleaning supplies and stick to products with multiple purposes.

  • Baking soda and vinegar are effective cleaning solutions.

  • Deodorize your garbage disposal to make your house smell fresh and clean.

  • The secret to removing stubborn stains and scuff marks may be sitting in your garage.

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With rambunctious kids and pets, your house is destined to get disheveled on a regular basis. And that’s part of the fun, right? Well, cleaning it is another story. 

Depending on how dirty your house is and your attitude toward cleaning, you may not need to hire a professional house cleaner near you to get it looking sparkling again. Tackling stubborn stains and smells yourself is intimidating, but these tips aim to make you feel more comfortable with the process. These simple home cleaning secrets explain just how to get your space looking spotless.

1. Clean From Top to Bottom and Left to Right

It’s easy to get into the zone while cleaning your house. There you are, dusting away when you realize you already vacuumed the carpets, and you’re left watching dust fall from your windowsill to the ground. Now, you have to lug the vacuum out again. 

Don’t waste your time with redundant tasks. Make a plan of action with a daily cleaning checklist before you get to work, and you’ll be able to clean your home much more efficiently.

Cleaning experts suggest starting from the top of the room, like the top of your bookshelf or ceiling fan, working your way down. Clean from left to right, too, to ensure you sweep (pun intended) the entire room.

2. Streamline Your Cleaning Kit

We all have that one neglected cabinet overflowing with an array of cleaning products, each intended for one specific cleaning task. Pare down by purging supplies you don’t use very often and opting for multipurpose products instead. 

Some simple cleaners, even DIY drain cleaners with white vinegar and lemon juice, are great for degreasing your stovetop, disinfecting countertops, cleaning the sink, clearing drains, and removing stains. 

Make your own cleaning supply kit that’s easy to grab, and keep only two or three products in it that can clean a variety of materials and surfaces. Then, you won’t spend time rummaging through your cluttered cleaning cabinet to find the product you need in the middle of a deep-cleaning.

3. Use Activated Charcoal to Kill Odors

Maybe food scraps are stinking up your under-sink compost bin, or dirty shoes are giving your mudroom a pungent smell. Or you’re unlucky enough to have a mouse perish in your attic. Whatever odor you’re dealing with, activated charcoal can usually help you get rid of it.

The next time you’re battling a smelly home, purchase activated charcoal to absorb bad smells. They’re available as loose granules, in contained sachets, or formed into filters. The smell should be gone entirely in about a week, and you can remove or replace the charcoal.

4. Clean Almost Anything With Baking Soda, Vinegar, and Lemon

Natural products for home cleaning
Photo: IndrePau / Adobe Stock

If you made a model volcano erupt in fifth-grade science class, you’re familiar with the fizzy effects of baking soda mixed with white vinegar. Baking soda and vinegar together create a chemical reaction that creates a lot of foam and fizz, and they work well to clean up gunk and remove stains. 

Adding lemon to the mix only boosts this dynamic duo’s cleaning power. It’s a natural degreaser that’ll not only make your surfaces sparkle but also infuse your home with a lemony fresh scent.

5. Remove Scuff Marks With Tennis Balls

Squeaky sneakers, heavy furniture with rubber-tipped legs, and rubber toys can cause stubborn scuff marks on your floor. But you might already have the tool to remove them sitting in your garage. Lightly rub a clean, dry tennis ball on black marks to lift them from your floors. 

If you’d rather not get on your hands and knees to clean your floors, cut an “x” in your tennis ball and attach it to a broom handle so you can clean scuff marks while standing up.

6. Deodorize Your Garbage Disposal With Lemon Peels and Ice Cubes

Your garbage disposal catches all kinds of food scraps while you do dishes and clean up after dinner. Some people even rely on it to dispose of their kitchen waste. There’s no wonder it gets smelly over time. 

Many products on the market are intended to freshen up your garbage disposal, but the easiest and most inexpensive way is to use lemon peels (or peels from other citrus fruits, like oranges) and lots of ice cubes. Fill the disposal with ice cubes and peels, run the tap, and turn the disposal on until you don’t hear any loud crunching noises anymore. 

"This is one of my favorite pieces of advice to share with homeowners,” says Asya Biddle, Angi Expert Review Board member and manager of The Dust Busters janitorial company in Williamsport, PA. “Utilizing lemon peels and ice to neutralize odor in a garbage disposal is easy, efficient, and cost-effective. It’ll also act as a natural cleaner and will help to break down leftover food debris." 

Warning: Don’t attempt this during nap time, or you’ll wake the whole house up.

7. Remove Stains With Toothpaste

White (not gel) toothpaste, especially formulas made with baking soda, removes stains from walls, shoes, and other surfaces the same way it removes them from your teeth. Toothpaste is a mild abrasive, so dab a small amount directly onto a stain and rub it in with your clean fingers or a cloth.

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